US offers Africa disunity, pitfalls and disrespect
In his address to the African Union last year, US President Joe Biden said that “the United States stands ready now to be your partner, in solidarity, support, and mutual respect”. The new US Strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa which has been unveiled as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken undertakes a three-nation trip to Africa shows that it essentially means reframing Africa as important to what the US perceives to be its rivalry with China and Russia.
In a fact sheet on the US’ strategy toward sub-Saharan Africa published on Monday, the White House makes no bones about the core purpose of the strategy being to coerce African countries to counter what it alleges are “harmful activities” by China and Russia.
The great lengths the document goes to elaborate the US’ commitment to aid African countries’ development in various fields makes it clear that the harm it is alarmed about is the US’ loss of influence on the continent, which the document says plays a critical role in advancing the US’ global priorities, not least because it represents one of the largest regional voting groups in the United Nations.
Perish the thought that Washington might want to help African countries, out of the goodness of its heart. The US’ increased engagement with the continent is motivated primarily by Washington’s perspective that the US is in competition with China for the right to write the international rules. As the document says, the region will prominently factor “in efforts to shape the rules of the world on vital issues like trade, cyber, and emerging technologies”.
Just like its return to the Asia-Pacific and its sharpened focus on the Pacific island countries, the US’ “return to Africa” has nothing to do with boosting the continent’s development, which entails more input than the US can afford, it is simply another attempt by the US to involve the continent in a new Cold War it wants to launch against China and Russia.
As the variety of initiatives the US has thrust on countries in Asia, Latin America and the Pacific since last year indicate, the US’ input will be limited and highly conditional on the pretext of upholding freedom and democracy.
The Africa strategy shows that just like the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, the US feels no qualms about sabotaging the development of Africa for its own ends.
That is in sharp contrast to China’s equal and win-win cooperation with African countries which has brought tremendous tangible benefits to both sides.
The US only cares about the souring of Sino-African relations, rather than Africa’s development. It wants to derail Sino-African cooperation but has no intention of providing real assistance to any African countries that it manages to persuade to shun China.
The African people know which country is their true partner, friend and brother, and which country is a speculator, troublemaker and saboteur that is trying to turn their countries into pieces in its geopolitical games.